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Bits: good value Avios hotel deals, SPG category changes, ‘goodbye Kamp’

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News in brief:

More exclusive Avios hotel deals has sent me details of their latest special offers for booking hotel rooms via their hotel booking portal.

Hilton Heathrow T5 (which is not actually in the airport) is included.  A 3-night stay from 20th May is £309 at the Hilton HHonors member rate.  Via it is £230 + 2,100 Avios which works out at almost 4p per point.

At the luxury end, the Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie in Rome is £2,450 for the same three nights in a classic room.  Via it is 15,750 Avios + £1,495 which gets you 6p per point.  If you choose to pay entirely in Avios, however, the value drops back to 0.78p.

Similar deals are available at the Excelsior in Hong Kong, Blue Waters in Antigua, Turim in Lisbon and the Hilton at Madrid Airport.  It is not clear when these deals end but they were still active last night.

Starwood Preferred Guest category changes announced

Hot on the heels of the Marriott Rewards changes, Starwood Preferred Guest has announced its annual list of recategorisations.

You can see the list here.  The list of increases and decreases is roughly 60 / 40.  The biggest shock will be at the 30+ hotels moving from Category 5 (12,000 – 16,000 points per night) to Category 6 (20,000 – 25,000 points per night).  That is a big jump.

It was interesting to see the fantastic St Regis in Istanbul, where I was last week (review to follow), dropping to Category 6.  With room rates in Istanbul at record lows at the moment, however, a redemption will still not be great value.  Rooms were selling for €260 when I was there compared with 30,000 points.  I would usually expect more than double the value for an SPG redemption.

In the UK, The Park Lane Hotel in London jumps from Category 5 to 6.  This hotel is currently coming to the end of a massive refurbishment so the increase may be justified.  The Great Northern Hotel at Kings Cross is also increasing to Category 6 just a few months after joining SPG.

Meanwhile, the Hotel Kämp in Helsinki is leaving Starwood on 29th February.  I only stayed there once, in pre-HfP days, but I remember being hugely impressed by it.  It is reportedly joining the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ marketing group.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (42)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • rams1981 says:

    O/T has anyone received their bonus for using Amex foreign exchange? Think it was 1000 bonus avios

    • Adrian says:

      Nope, neither me nor my wife have had them. Phoned BA got some hopeless person from a foreign call centre who said no it’s not BA it’s Amex and put me through to Amex, after a few mins Amex came back and said nope, it’s BA not us! I will try again next week!

    • Genghis says:

      Not yet. Paid within 80 days of transaction. Mine due next Sun

      • Genghis says:

        As an update I received my 1,000 bonus avios today. The transaction was 10 Dec

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          Thanks for the reminder on this – I chased AMEX today and, conincidentally or not, the 1000 points posted this evening.

  • David says:

    O/T but Virgin appear to have announced a change to upgrade pricing when booking upgrade rewards, (click “Upgrades Table”). It feels a little hidden away, but the bottom line seems to be that whilst more miles will be required to upgrade, additional fare classes will be upgradeable (from 1/3/16). So perhaps not a full devaluation in the standard sense.

  • Chris says:

    Why would anyone stay 3 nights in an airport hotel?

    • Peter K says:

      Maybe if it’s a long stopover on a longer flight? Considering doing it in Singapore on way to Australia. My wife does not like long haul so a break in the middle will be needed.

      • Susan says:

        I feel her pain. On our first trip to Auckland we went direct to Beijing, overnight there and on to NZ next day. Had lunchtime to lunchtime in Beijing so time for sightseeing, dinner and hotel in town and back to airport at reasonable time the following day. Last trip was via Dubai/SYD/AKL and we swore never to do that again.

  • Rupert says:

    If I buy a rate with a hotel with 4 nights parking – is that on top of the night I stay in the hotel (so 5 nights in total) – or 1 night in a hotel and a 3 night holiday?

  • Alex W says:

    OT: How can I find out whether the hotel I want to stay at has an executive lounge open to Accor Plat? Just trying to find a hotel where I could get free breakfast without ringing up a dozen places…

    • Alan says:

      Hmm, there might be a thread on FlyerTalk? Can’t remember for certain. Otherwise a case of looking at the hotel and see if they sell Exec rooms, but make sure the description does definitely mention a lounge! Also beware that some properties annoyingly exclude breakfast access from lounges for Accor Plats, so you only get in later in the day for drinks/snacks 🙁

    • Rob says:

      The only guaranteed lounge access, with the Amex hotel cards, would be Sofitel via Accor Platinum. Hilton Gold gets you free breakfast at most brands but not lounge access.

  • Alan says:

    OT (as Bits article!) – but in case anyone else received a ‘pure’ Debit Mastercard as part of signing up for a new BT line – I’ve found that although they don’t let you pay bills with them, the old NS&I route that used to work with 3V cards works perfectly 😀 (it seemed to waste it in a shop where I could use my Amex or Hilton VISA and get money towards a spending target!)

  • harry says:

    Another OT – I can’t see any sign of it on their website but Southwestwater will happily accept PayPoint for paying your bills, I got them to send me my booklet of paying-in slips this morning. From past experience, you can ignore the 1/12 per month idea and just pay 12 months up front (if you like) on your Amex, more if you fancy a refund to your bank a/c lol

    I bet many other water cos will accept PayPoint

    • Alan says:

      You would have been proud of me today, Harry – 10p/L off at Morrison’s thanks to £100 Amazon GC purchase on my SPG Amex 😉

      • harry says:

        Nice one. My last tank-up I just got 1p/ litre 🙂

        Got a points coupon so just bought a £15 Amazon card to save £2.50, sounds pathetic but that’s nearly 17% off my next Amazon purchase. With the 1p x 60 litres = 60p. With the Avios = 30 ie 30p. All in all nearly 23% off my next Amazon purchase @ this amount.

        We are conserving cash as my wife is getting the full monty into her pension this year – might be the last opp with all the tax reliefs, I reckon.

        My other hunch is that the higher rate tax relief dies at midnight on budget day, same as whisky & beer.

        • Alan says:

          Agree definite risk re pensions and they might worsen the multipliers used to assess final salary schemes too.

          • harry says:

            And the old 25% tax-free definitely at risk, with any luck just for the future so existing schemes should be OK

          • harry says:

            Rather OT but Telegraph seems to confirm that higher rate tax relief on £40K pension contribution will die on Budget Day – therefore your last chance

  • Kbuffet says:

    OT but does anyone know if my Accor Platinum that I have due to AMEX Platinum which expires 09/16 be extended to 04/17 which is 12 months from when AMEX are withdrawing the benefit?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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